Tillage is defined as the mechanical manipulation of the
soil aimed at improving its physical condition or
Practice of modifying the state of soil in order to
provide conditions favorable to growth.
Physical manipulation of soil and it is intended to
destroy weeds, incorporate crop residues and
amendments into soil, increase infiltration and reduce
evaporation, prepare seedbed and break hard layers to
facilitate root penetration (Prihar, 1990).
a. Production of suitable Tilth, or Soil
b. Control of weeds
c. Control of Soil moisture
d. Incorporation of organic matter and
agro-chemicals for weed and pest
OBJECTIVE OF TILLAGE
Improve soil tilth and prepare a seedbed
Manipulate plant residues and farm
Manage water and air in the soil
Control weeds and soil-borne insects
pests and diseases.
Establish a surface layer which prevents
wind and soil erosion
PREPARATION OF SEEDBED
The desirable characteristics of a seedbed are:
Weed-free soil, which prevents the loss of precious
water and plant nutrients to weeds.
Granular soil structure, which allows close contact of
the seed and the plant roots with soil practice.
Soil free of compacted layers, which reduce air and
water penetration and inhibit root development.
Generally level soil surface which facilitates planting
seeds at a uniform depth and is especially important
for proper water management in irrigated areas.
MANIPULATION OF PLANT RESIDUES AND
Incorporation of organic matter into soil results in:
Increased soil fertility.
Increased water penetration and water holding
Enhanced soil microbial activities.
MANAGING WATER IN THE SOIL
Tillage practices vary widely depending on the
soil type, climate region and crops.
In low rain fall areas the main need is to conserve
In semiarid of Pakistan water management is
Farmers of barani areas normally do 8-10 shallow
ploughings with a cultivator for moisture
conservation of rain water.
These excessive tillage may cause compaction.
In dryland farming involve large areas of open
land, in these areas large machines are most
Effect on soil moisture
a) Soil water retention
Effect on Soil structure
Effect on Soil temperature
Effect on Soil microorganism
Effect on evaporation
Effect on Soil nutrient uptake
EFFECT OF TILLAGE ON SOIL
A variety of tillage implements are used to weaken
soil strength, reduce compaction and allow the free
movement of water and air in order to promote plant
A wide range of primary tillage and seed-bed
preparation and for crops.
These are used depending on the kind of soil, type
of cropping and agro-climatic conditions.
DESI OR LOCAL PLOUGH
This plough has been used for centuries and still being used
in many areas of the country.
Main uses are:
Dry ploughing ; for turning crop
Wet ploughing ; after soaking irrigation
Drilling; for drilling and seeding
Interculturing in cotton, maize,
It cuts a rectangular furrow and leaves no
uncut land between the contiguous
It uproots weeds and burry them into the
The lower soil is brought up to the
surface and exposed to the action of sun
Meston plough is similar to the heavy type in
construction but its parts are smaller and lighter.
It is also a lighter draft
The plough has wooden handle and a long wooden
beam with an iron body.
Commonly used for both dry and wet ploughing.
PRIMARY TILLAGE IMPLEMENTS
Primary tillage is mainly an operation of
cutting and pulverizing the soil to a
described depth and inverting it to burry
crop stubble and weeds deep in the soil
This is most common primary tillage
Can effectively break many type of soils.
Its basic function is to cut, invert and
pulverize the soil up to the depth of 20-30cm.
The width of ploughshare varies from 25-
It is made up of the blade, share beam, furrow
wheel, jointer and three point hitch to mount
on a tractor.
It is also an other primary tillage implement.
Because of its inclined disc blades it does not cut, invert
or pulverize the soil as deeply as the mouldboard plough.
It is less effective for those tasks than the mouldboard
It is more effective in breaking clods in heavy soils.
It consists of concave, round discs of hard steel, 50-75cm
It is used for partial burial of crop residues and for soils
with rocks, stumps and trees.
Recommended for dry ploughing conditions.
These implements are used to open the soil
deeply without turning it over.
Chisel ploughs are similar to rippers and
have a working depth more or less equal to
conventional ploughing depth.
These ploughs are used for special
Chisel plough is usually recommended
after three years to break the established
A subsoiler is a form of chisel plough designed to
penetrate to a greater depth.
This implement can penetrate to a depth of 50cm to
loosen deep soil layers and promote water
movement and root growth.
A lot of power (40-60 hp) is needed to pull one
shank of a subsoiler at a depth of 50cm in heavy
Rotavator or rotary plough can be used both as
primary and secondary tillage implement.
It consist of a set of ‘L’ shaped blades which are
normally mounted with three right handed and
three left-handed blades per flange.
It can also be used for fine seed-bed preparation
for vegetable production.
Although the depth does not exceed 20cm its
power requirement is quite high.
SECONDARY TILLAGE IMPLEMENTS
Secondary tillage operations are usually
performed after tillage operation.
Secondary tillage operation is done to
improve seedbed preparation, increase soil
pulverization, conserve moisture, destroy
weeds and crop residues and perform final
Harrows are used for a great variety of
purposes, such as preparing
seedbeds, covering seeds and aerating
It pulverizes the soil, breaks clods, kills
weeds, chops and incorporate organic matter
into the soil and mixes soil amendments.
Tillage depth is limited to 15-20cm and soil
is compacted below 20cm under the action
A light cultivator which can be adjusted to
produce variable effects.
Spring-Tined/Tooth harrows are satisfactory for
light tillage with little surface penetration.
No soil compaction.
Effective for light soils i.e. sandy and sandy
Useful secondary tillage implements for pulverizing
cloddy soils in a friable state.
Break soil crust.
They can also be used together with a plough or
harrow foe one –pass primary and secondary tillage
Main objective of rollers are to consolidate the
soil, crust clods, and smooth the surface.